Movie #98 2020: Vivarium (2019)

Excuse me… but what the fuck?

A very original concept, Vivarium is the story of a young couple who are attempting to buy their first home. Sounds boring as shit. But obviously there’s more to it than meets the eye.

IMDb summarises the plot as follows:

A young couple looking for the perfect home find themselves trapped in a mysterious labyrinth-like neighborhood of identical houses.


That’s still not enough to do this movie’s story line justice. It only gets weirder and weirder, as the couple get a creepy alien child that grows at a rapid rate delivered to their door too, and then they become forced to raise it. I say ‘it’ because that thing ain’t human. It’s genuinely one of the most skin-crawling things I’ve seen all year.

After watching it though, I was left feeling frustrated. Is it some weird analogy/metaphor for consumerism and the difficulty of raising children? Or is it to do with recreation and life/death? I don’t know, but a movie shouldn’t need a fucking instruction manual. There are some movies that are supposed to be cerebral, and I bloody love them, don’t get me wrong. (Chris Nolan‘s Memento being a prime example). However, this movie tries way too hard, has way too many themes, and therefore ends up just being way too complicated and hard to follow.

I have to admit, Imogen Poots acts the shit out of this role. She’s quickly gaining a lot of attention and it’s completely understandable, especially when she’s given something this poor to work with. Although the film itself is only 97 minutes long, it would have felt a hell of a lot longer if she wasn’t at the forefront of it, so I have to applaud her for that.

I guess for a film as weird as this, it was actually quite… I don’t want to say entertaining because it’s not the right word. But I did want to know what was going on… shame that I never found out. Although the end of the movie is quite disturbing and we actually get some real, gripping drama, we never really get any answers. Why was this all happening in the first place?

The only other positives (other thanPoots) I can think of when it comes to this film is that the scenery was brilliant, and whichever casting agent found that creepy as balls child actor did a stand up job.

Sadly, it seems that the whole of Vivarium was an attempt to strum up some sort of meaningful metaphor, rather than entertain and satisfy the consumer. And it doesn’t do a very good job at it either.

Vivarium is available to rent for £3.49 on Amazon and the Google Play Store. (It’s £5.49 on the Sky Store currently, but I wouldn’t waste your money).

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
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